Maximizing Post-Injury Earning Capacity
Getting an injured worker back to work is often the ultimate goal when mitigating exposure. When considering how to best maximize an injured worker’s post-injury earning capacity, employers and adjusters should attempt to collect information regarding an injured worker’s potential pre-existing limitations, vocational skills, education, and experience as early as possible. This could be done as early as during the recorded statement and initial claim investigation, as well as through formal discovery. Knowing an injured worker’s limitations and transferrable skills early in a case, especially in a case involving a high level of TTD exposure, helps to identify and inform whether and when we need to consider the expense of vocational rehabilitation.
Another key aspect of maximizing post-injury earning capacity is to be thoughtful about the vocational rehabilitation specialist selected to help with a case. We have found that one of the obstacles to a successful return to work is lack of rapport between the injured worker and the vocational rehabilitation specialist. If the injured worker feels like they are just going through the motions, or worse, that the vocational rehabilitation specialist is working against them, it is less likely the return-to-work efforts will be successful. In cases where the claimant is likely to be out of work for a long time, having a vocational rehabilitation specialist that has earned the injured worker’s trust can be instrumental in getting them back to work.